Toronto bike crash reporting app coming soon
This weekend, Random Hacks of Kindness took over the CSI Annex, and developers from all over Toronto came together to work on a number of projects. On Saturday, representatives from different NPOs made proposals to the hall full of hackers. Claire Buré, a researcher at CSI, proposed a mobile app for reporting bike crash data. I ended up hacking on an urban tree mapping web app but during the hackathon everyone floated around a bit to get help and share ideas with fellow hackers, which is how I learned about this new app.
Claire Buré suggested the app as an alternative for cyclists who are put off by the length of the city's reporting forms, and who don't call the police every time someone doors them. The app allows people to report the location, time, and details of an accident, with twitter/facebook ID, or anonymously. Given just a day and a half, Buré's small cadre of elite hackers had a web app up that collected and displayed crash data. They also have a really awesome name, Bikegeist.
With Sunday afternoon came the judging. A panel of judges from Microsoft, Doctors Without Borders, Red Hat, and the World Bank all gave advice to each of the programs on how to move forward with their app. Bikegeist was given a stern warning. It was fun, easy to use, and poised for incredible growth, but after gathering the data, there was no next step. The judges pressed upon them to consider how to use the data they are gathering to give value to their users, and display the information about bike accidents and trends in a way that was useful to people using their service.
After the hackathon was over, Bikegiest didn't launch. Awesome transformational apps really aren't built in a day after all. The developers are still polishing away, and they are hoping to add more polish and tools to the front end, as well as get a dedicated mobile developer. If you want to be a cool kid, you can follow them on twitter @bikegeist or check out what they accomplished in just one weekend at bikegeist.org.
Writing by Peter MacDonald. Photo by wyliepoon.
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